Littwin: Of course, it gets weirder. And the stakes so much higher.

That sound you hear is alarm bells going off across this vast land of ours. Get used to them. They’re going to be ringing for at least the next four years.

It wasn’t so long ago that the great concern was that the press would somehow “normalize” Donald Trump by presenting him as a clearly offbeat but colorful leader whose style of governing might be eccentric and a touch autocratic but hardly a danger to the democratic project.

There was one glitch in this theory: Donald Trump himself. Trump, of course, refuses to be normalized. How could anyone have missed that?

It’s easy enough to predict that the Trump years will be drama-filled. He wouldn’t have it any other way. But just as predictable is the drama that will face those who bought into the lesser-of-two-evils argument when voting for Trump. How long will they stick by their guy?

I mean, Trump vs. Clinton is over. Trump vs. Obama will end momentarily. And soon it will be Trump vs. whatever enemy he latches onto next. Nixon’s enemies list will be a fond memory of a more innocent time when enemies were at least predictable.

For Trump, it doesn’t have to be the intelligence agencies, although that feud certainly has legs. It could be Trump’s not-exactly-presidential-sounding tweet slamming Arnold Schwarzenegger for his sad, weak ratings on Celebrity Apprentice. It’s all part of the package.

What’s clear now that the closer Trump actually gets to the Oval Office, the scarier the idea of Trump becomes and the louder the alarms get. As I said, get used to them. Noise-reducing earphones won’t help, unless they now come in twitter-reduction mode, too.

On Election Day, someone asked me whether Trump could win. I said that it was quite possible, but that it was unimaginable. Now, we’re seeing what unimaginable looks like. The only thing stranger than a Trump presidency is the idea that his first before-he-even-gets-to-be-president presidential crisis is the Russian hacking story.

A normalized – or normal – president-elect would have said the idea that any foreign actor, but particularly Russia, would attempt to sway a U.S. election by hacking prominent Americans is something that, you know, will not stand. He doesn’t have to mean it. He doesn’t have to cash in his Russian bonds or whatever dealings he has with them. He just has to say it.

Instead, in the hours after the humiliating (for Trump and those people who voted for him) Senate hearing on hacking in which intelligence chiefs said (or would have said, if entirely honest) that Trump is a paranoid loon and in the hours before his big intelligence briefing on hacking, Trump managed to tell The New York Times that this whole thing was a “witch hunt,” proving at least two things:

One, he doesn’t know what a witch hunt is.

Two, it doesn’t matter what evidence Trump receives on this, he will not back down on his embrace of Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange.

The Putin bromance is well established. And the fact that The Washington Post revealed intelligence sources had evidence of celebration in the Kremlin on Election Day certainly only strengthened the bond. When people ask why Trump embraces a man who is America’s enemy, the answer is too obvious: He’s not Trump’s enemy. Meanwhile, Trump is pretty sure the witch-hunting intelligence agencies are undermining him because, well, I’m assuming it’s because he thinks the Russian story undermines his “landslide” victory.

I don’t want to be a hypocrite here. I’ve got my own concerns about the CIA and the NSA and the FBI. Our history here is, to say the least, problematic.

But what about Julian Assange? Is there anything less normal than Trump (along with Trump apologists Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter) embracing Assange? Here’s what Trump said about Wikileaks in 2010: “I think it’s disgraceful. I think there should be like death penalty of something.” Assange was once the poster boy for international anti-Americanism – once defended only by true lefties – and now he gets prime time love from Hannity. As columnist Michael Gerson wrote of this kind of party-think, what he calls “political tribalism”: “Trump is good. Assange helped Trump. So Assange is good.”

Of course, it gets weirder. Trump, who once tweeted that we should “get on with our lives” rather than investigate any interference in the election, is now tweeting that Congress must investigate how NBC got hold of an intelligence briefing meant for him. And weirder still, and in irony beyond irony, Julian Assange also sent out an angry tweet about, yes, the NBC leak story.

And even after his big intelligence briefing, when all the evidence was laid out before him, Trump still couldn’t quite bring himself to say the Russians did it. He did say that whoever did it – Russians, Chinese, the 400-pound kid–- the hacking had no effect on the election. Of course it didn’t.

The real story here is not the hacking and it’s not the leaking and it’s not the Russians and it’s not Assange. The story is all Trump, who knows more than the generals do about ISIS and now knows more than the CIA about hacking. And he’s going to be the president in just over a week.

You may remember that Trump said last week that there were things he knew that others didn’t know about this hacking issue – and about hacking in general – and that he would reveal all on Tuesday or Wednesday. There was no reveal, of course. It was just something he said, like about Mexicans paying for a wall.

This is what Trump does. It’s what President Trump will do – the same assault on the truth, except with the stakes so much higher. Alarming? Very. But it’s not as if we weren’t warned.

Flickr photo by Scott Ellis.


  1. Yes, it gives me great comfort knowing that an insecure, easily-insulted, narcissistic man-child will have the nuclear codes in two weeks…

  2. Clown car saves seat for ML.

    “But I’ve always had a pretty good handle on politics. For one thing, it’s not that complicated.” – Mike Littwin January, 2016

    “I still have no idea how or why Trump was elected.” – Mike Littwin December, 2016

    From bravado to bewilderment in less than one year and that’s a very long trip to make in just 12 months.

    But it does beg the question: Does Mr. Littwin have anything relevant left to say about American politics if he’s unable/unwilling to analyze how Mrs. Clinton lost the presidential election in what has been called the greatest upset in the history of American politics? To date, his most cogent attempt at an explanation is “What the hell just happened?”

    But it goes even deeper: While Mr. Littwin admits, “The real story is not of Trump, though, but of Trump voters and why they made him our president.” he remains uncharacteristically silent about those voters.

    When British voters approved Brexit Mr. Littwin was quick to label those voters as “racist” and “xenophobic” yet he seems baffled as how to describe those Americans who voted for Donald Trump who Mr. Littwin called, “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party”

    But there is some good news: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls put your hands together for Mr. Mike Littwin who, albeit reluctantly and almost two months after the presidential election, has finally found his way to using Donald J. Trump’s new title “President Trump” even though inauguration day is still almost two weeks away. (Insert wild applause here). And despite the fact that Mr. Littwin buried it in the very last paragraph—a depth few readers reach—it does mark progress.

    The sharp decline in Mr. Littwin’s political acumen is not surprising, he joined the Colorado Independent after, well, leaving the Denver Post because he wanted that second act that F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that you don’t get in America.

    It would appear Mr. Fitzgerald was correct.


    “So this is how it ends — in a whimper wrapped in self-pity and recriminations. With President Obama on the defensive at his final press conference and Hillary Clinton’s last campaign event resembling a wake, the Democratic Party is limping off the stage and into the political winter.” – New York Post

    “The Democratic shoot-out in the lifeboats has begun.

    Now usually when one political party loses a presidential election, both branches of Congress and a majority of governorships, a little soul-searching and a perhaps an “autopsy” are in order.
    But not so for the Democratic Party these days, whose officials are still searching about for scapegoats.: – Boston Herald
    “The call for a deep and detailed accounting of how Clinton lost a race that she and her donors were absolutely certain she’d win didn’t begin immediately after the election — there was too much shock over her defeat by Donald Trump, and overwhelming grief. Her initial conference call with top backers, which came just days after the outcome, focused primarily on FBI Director Jim Comey’s late campaign-season intervention.
    But in the weeks since, the wealthy Democrats who helped pump over $1 billion into Clinton’s losing effort have been urging their local finance staffers, state party officials, and campaign aides to provide a more thorough explanation of what went wrong. With no dispassionate, centralized analysis of how Clinton failed so spectacularly, they insist, how can they be expected to keep contributing to the party?

    Or, in the words of a Midwestern fundraiser who’s kept in touch with fellow donors, “A lot of people are saying, ‘I’m not putting another (expletive deleted) dime in until someone tells me what just happened.’”” –

    “It’s from this perspective that I’m watching the various efforts to deprive Donald Trump of his majority when the electors meet in their respective states this week.
    It’s all a shadow play—entertaining, provocative, but bearing no relation to current political reality.
    The prospect of persuading 37 Trump electors to rebel is all but non-existent.
    Is there any basis to believe that a GOP-controlled House and Senate would accept the vote of a defecting elector as “regularly given”? (They have in the past, but in those cases, the stray vote or two had no impact at all on the outcome.)” –

    “Republicans control the House, the Senate, 34 governor’s mansions, and 4,100 seats in state legislatures. But Democrats act like they run Washington. Nancy Pelosi’s speech to the 115th House of Representatives was a long-winded recitation of the same liberal agenda that has brought her party to its current low. Give her points for consistency I guess. Chuck Schumer is just being delusional.” –

    November 08, 2016

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation
    Veterans Day – November 10, 2017

  3. Don: Why do you read him if all you can do is disparage what he writes? Seems like a total waste of your short and unhappy life on this earth.

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